Senate Probe Health Ministry On Alleged N5.7bn Donor Funds Mismanagement
The Senate Public Account Committee has summoned senior management staff of the Ministry of Health to appear before it in order to explain how they managed the N5.7 billion grant from an international donor agency.
Our correspondent learnt yesterday that the alleged mismanagement of the fund had forced the agency to suspend further assistance based on unsatisfactory reports emanating from some agencies being supervised by the Ministry.
The alleged poor handling of the fund was detailed in the 2016 report of the Auditor General for the Federation, currently being scrutinised by the Senator Matthew Urhoghide-led SPAC.
Urhoghide at the last sitting of the panel expressed dissatisfaction over the failure of the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health and the senior officials to appear and give account of the fund.
The Senator lamented that four invitations had been sent to the Ministry but were ignored.
The first letter, according to him, was dated February 1, 2022, and the meeting was scheduled for February 8 and another was scheduled for March 16.
The donor agency was Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), an international NGO which specilaises in bringing together public and private sectors with the objective of creating equal access to new and under-used vaccine for children living in the World’s poorest countries.
The SPAC Chairman said the Committee would be left with no other option than to demand an Arrest Warrant against the Ministry officials so that they would give explanation.
He said, “The Ministry of Health has consistently refused to come and give account before this Committee. We have sent invitations to them to appear with no response from the Ministry, this is very unfortunate.”
The query read: “First in 2015, a donor named GAVI, an international NGO which specialises in bringing together public and private sectors with the objective of creating equal access to new and under-used vaccine for children living in the world’s poorest countries, assisted the country.
“The NGO, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, accused the National Primary Health Care Development Agency of mis-management of funds released by the organisation.
“GAVI then invited my Office (AuGF) to observe the appointment of an audit firm to carry out extended cash programme audit of GAVI funds released to NPHCDA from 2010 to 2015.
“There was non-adherence to laid down procedures stipulated in Public Procurement Act, 2007, in the procurement of Goods, Services and works valued at N4,987,958,621.00 (Four billion, nine hundred and eighty-seven million, nine hundred and fifty-eight thousands)
” Expenditures made by the NPHCDA between 1st January, 2010 and 31st March, 2015, amounted to N8,599,291,949.
“Out of the amount, the sum of N187,725,160.00 was not supported with relevant statutory and third party documents, such as payment vouchers, receipts, invoices, delivery notes, store receipt vouchers, contract completion certificates, among others.
” The sum of N18,804,865.00 was also reported to be ineligible expenditures as it comprised payments to suppliers who did not deliver the procured goods or services as per contract.
“Inadequately supported expenditure amounted to N619,999,383.00 was also discovered. This was mostly attributed to photocopied documents, inconsistencies in supporting documents, lack of contracts with suppliers and lack of evidence of delivery for procured goods.”